South Africa's impressive icebreaker and polar supply vessel, the SA Agulhas II, was anchored in East London on Thursday and Friday this week as part of the vessel's annual Open Day celebrations. On Thursday, local schools participated in pre-arranged school visits, while the vessel was opened to members of the general public on Friday. Owned and operated by the Department of Environmental Affairs, the SA Agulhas II was built and deployed in 2012. Unlike her predecessor, she was designed from the beginning to carry out both scientific research and supply South African research stations in the Antarctic. The vessel measures an impressive 134m and has a beam of 21.7m. She can reach speeds of up to 30km/h in normal conditions, and up to 9.3km/h in ice. The SA Agulhus II is operated by 45 crew members and features both a helideck and a hangar. She can carry up to 100 passengers. Buffalo City visitors will be able to take guided tours of the vessel and will have the opportunity to explore the bridge, laboratories and the Agulhas lounge area, which is dedicated to and named after the South African music icon, Miriam Makeba. Members of the public will also also be able to enjoy exhibits by the Department pf Environmental Affairs and its stakeholders on their work in the ocean and coastal environment.
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